The final results and conclusions from the Illinois Soybean Association 2010 Yield Challenge are in, and they exceeded the ISA's highest expectations. Due to the success of the inaugural competition, plans are already under way for the 2011 Yield Challenge.
The ISA is inviting growers, students and sponsors to sign up before the April 15 deadline, submit soil samples for free testing and participate in this year's Challenge.
The ISA created the Yield Challenge – funded by the Illinois soybean checkoff – to help Illinois soybean growers improve yields and further establish the state's position as a global leader in soybean production. The competition's overall goal is to increase yields by 1.5 percent while collecting data to assist growers and researchers in the future.
"The 2010 Yield Challenge saw a definite increase in yields," reports ISA Assistant Secretary-Treasurer Dean Campbell. "The Challenge plot yields were 5.2% higher than the standard plots."
The 2010 Yield Challenge started with 32 teams in nine districts across Illinois, all of whom farmed side-by-side plots using traditional and innovative techniques. Over half of the teams – 17 in all – completed the competition. The 123 participants on those teams helped produce valuable information on how different farming methods affected their crops, including soil drainage, seeding depth, fungicide and insecticide usage, and more.
They also provided useful feedback in the concluding grower survey. Of the 89 respondents:
92% reported they learned something from their Yield Challenge plots.
69% reported they will adopt practices used on their Challenge plots on other production acres in 2011.
55% reported their high-yield practices were profitable.
The ISA is now seeking growers and team sponsors for the 2011 Yield Challenge. Teams can be comprised of Illinois-based growers or students from Illinois colleges, universities or FFA chapters. Teams with or without a sponsor may participate.
To register as a team or sponsor, sign up before the April 15 deadline by visiting www.soyyieldchallenge.com, contacting Jim Nelson at (309) 825-7542 or email@example.com, or calling the ISA office at (309) 663-7692.